After its success with reality competition "Face Off," returning for a new season at 9 p.m. Tuesday, it was natural for Syfy to create a companion series with some of the same appeal.
"Heroes of Cosplay" (10:30 p.m. Tuesday) is more docuseries than competition show as it follows nine people who engage in cosplay, also known as costume play. They dress up as familiar characters from sci-fi movies, TV and comic books and compete for prizes in contests held at sci-fi/comic book conventions.
Some see it as an afterwork hobby; for others, it's a career.
Each one-hour episode follows these cosplay devotees as they dream up, design and make costumes.
In the overly annoying style of so many docuseries, from "The Real Housewives of ..." to "Push Girls," "Heroes of Cosplay" implies many of these characters have long-standing friendships and rivalries, but because this show exists in a nebulous region between reality show and pure documentary, viewers are never quite sure how much of that is legit and how much is producer-driven poppycock.
The making of the costumes, with all the attendant drama of mistakes and time crunch, is most reminiscent of "Face Off." The backbiting among characters is more "Real Housewives."
Yaya Han, identified as a "legend of cosplay," comes across as the judgmental queen bee of playing dress-up. She's made herself a brand, selling posters and costume pieces (fox ears, head pieces) at conventions worldwide. But she's not the only one who takes cosplay seriously.
"I don't do this for fun," says cosplayer Victoria Schmidt. "I'm trying to accurately replicate a costume that's been on TV or in the movies."
The first hour of "Heroes of Cosplay" is fairly interesting as a study of an unusual subculture. But just how many unique stories are there to be mined from the characters introduced?
The first hour also threatens to devolve into a snippy back-and-forth between some competitors, a contrivance that afflicts far too many docuseries.
After this week's premiere, "Heroes of Cosplay" moves to its regular time slot, 10 p.m. Tuesday, beginning Aug. 20.